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EU election candidates urged to back paper sector

All UK candidates in the forthcoming European elections have been sent a letter urging the European institutions to develop a “meaningful industrial strategy” to include resource efficiency and recycling.

In the letter, the director general of the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), David Workman, raises concerns about the challenges of remaining internationally competitive in a market that is “subject to the micro-management of excessive legislation and regulation, high energy costs, and taxes and levies not applied in other parts of the world”.

David Workman

Workman (left), states that over the past five years, there have been over 2,300 new regulations and Directives from Brussels. He says some of the legislation adds a direct or indirect cost burden to industry, while others set targets which are unachieveable in the timescales envisaged.

The letter backs concerns from the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) about a widening gap between energy costs in Europe and in other trading blocs (notably the US).

According to Workman, “the position in the UK is even worse as direct and indirect energy/carbon costs make the UK uncompetitive, even with some of our European neighbours.”

He adds: “The lack of progress on integrating Europe’s energy infrastructure is alarming, given that climate change and other environmental targets are set on a Europe-wide basis.”

The letter notes that the European paper Industry was the first industrial sector to produce a 2050 Roadmap. This was followed by a year of research that led to the production of a report outlining several potential “blue-sky” projects, for which industry now need funding.

“It is essential that the EU actively supports this type of research if industries like paper are to lead the world in innovation and secure the investment that is required to ensure its long-term survival.”

He urged successful candidates to back an aspiration to increase manufacturing output to 20% of EU GDP by 2020, and “the creation of a ‘circular society’ through encouraging resource efficiency and genuine recycling.”

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